Preparing for Hurricane Irma and beyond…

It’s difficult enough to manage your household and family in the event of an impending storm. Dealing with the needs of your clients, vendors, and employees adds a layer of complexity and uncertainty. The technology and information central to your business are in direct peril in a natural disaster. Luckily, with some planning and foresight, you can maximize your recovery capabilities.

Data Protection – Servers can be replaced. Buildings can be repaired. Data, however, is irreplaceable, and is the heart of the modern enterprise. A good business continuity plan revolves around preserving the integrity and accessibility of data.

If you employ a hybrid cloud image-based backup (e.g. Datto), your servers are backed up both to a local device and to the cloud. In the event one of your servers is damaged, it can be repaired or replaced, and the data and programs can be restored. If the damage includes the facility and the backup device itself, the servers can be restored in the cloud.

If you currently use a data-only cloud backup, your data is protected but your server operating systems and programs may not be. This just means that if the server is destroyed, we’ll need to replace it, reinstall your applications, and then restore all the data. This adds considerably to recovery time, but the important thing is that your data is safe.

If you are using physical media only, with no cloud, then the best you can do is to take the media with you and hope that it keeps its integrity. If this applies to you, seriously consider implementing a secure cloud backup solution.

Communication – To avoid chaos in the hours during and following a disaster, keep clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Who’s responsible for facility operations, such as contacting utility and security providers? Who’s responsible for interacting with law enforcement and media? Who’s responsible for company-wide memos, and how do you get in touch with everyone? A well-crafted Disaster Recovery Plan addresses all these issues. Ensure that the DRP is updated frequently with new info, and that all key personnel retain their own copy, so it’s available as needed. The DRP should also contain guidelines for systems and data recovery, so that the process can be carried out by any available tech staff in case the primary tech contact is unavailable.

Physical Preparation – In a flood zone, IT equipment should be elevated whenever possible. Disconnect desktops, place in plastic bags, and put them on top of desks. Servers and telecom equipment should already be elevated in a rack or on a table, or mounted to the wall. In most cases, servers will be shut down and disconnected.

If you’re uncertain where you stand in terms of storm preparation for your IT systems, please contact us and we’ll be glad to help.